Today’s Headlines

  • Bloomberg Signs Bill Extending Time Drivers Can Park at Broken Meters (City Room)
  • Reporters Record Rampant Traffic Crime, Catch Scofflaw Drivers in the Act (S.I. Advance)
  • Pricing Foes Markowitz and de Blasio Lead Rally Protesting MTA Cuts and Fare Hikes (Bklyn Eagle)
  • MTA to Purchase Hundreds of New Subway Cars Despite Budget Troubles (Post)
  • Village Bus Riders Decry Plans to Eliminate M8 Route (Villager)
  • NYCT Rolls Out Vintage Buses and Trains for the Holidays (Post, NY1)
  • More on the Mammoth, Time-Wasting Enviro Review of SF’s Bike Plan (Bay Guardian)
  • Thousands of Big Three Dealerships May Fold With or Without a Detroit Bailout (NYT)
  • Streetsblog Readers Want to Know: Were Horses Deadlier Than Cars? (Paper Cuts, Caleb Crain)
  • Buffy the Bike Rider (TreeHugger)
  • J. Mork

    I loved the Women on Bikes feature. Why not call it that, TreeHugger?

    Besides being sexist, calling women “girls” also perpetuates the “bikes aren’t for grown-ups” myth.

  • Larry Littlefield

    The horses and cars issue is interesting as a matter of history. If horses also caused injuries and occasional fatalities, that might explain why the outcry against auto accidents wasn’t greater.

    Then again, the development of the whole apparatus of traffic control, motor vehicle registration and licensing, etc. implies the auto was perceived as a new and greater threat.

    “It took maybe 30 seconds for the borough to live up to its reputation as a place where a culture of entitlement and hostility dominates the roadways.”

    The SI Advance should get to some of the other boroughs. I’ve found the driving there to be placid compared with Brooklyn, and Queens to be scariest place in the metro area.

  • Boris

    I’d say that Brooklyn and Queens drivers are worse, but they have less of a chance to kill someone because of relatively narrow, congested roads (Queens Blvd being one of the obvious exceptions). Staten Islanders face less congestion and higher speeds, so any accidents that happen are really bad ones.

  • Niccolo Machiavelli

    I thought De Blasio was intent on going for the public advocate position. How can he just abandon a position long held by most of the down town neighborhood and community board organizations in favor of tolling the bridges? Doesn’t he have to retain credibility on this issue? I’m shocked to find there is pandering going on here.

  • Larry Littlefield

    “I’d say that Brooklyn and Queens drivers are worse, but they have less of a chance to kill someone because of relatively narrow, congested roads (Queens Blvd being one of the obvious exceptions).”

    QB is exactly what I was talking about when I said Queens was scary. Where else can you have that much traffic moving that fast, plus intersections and turns that cause people to change lanes all the time?

    I once went to a store by car on QB without knowing its exact location, meaning I had to look for it while driving. I survived, but haven’t been on QB by car since, and that was over a decade ago.

  • Getting rid of the M8 is a terrible idea. That bus is tremendously useful for the many people who live in the area. (Disclaimer: That used to include me, so I’m a bit biased.) The MTA is claiming that they’re only getting rid of bus routes that are either not heavily used (which the M8 is) or are reasonably well duplicated by subway service, but the only real “duplication” is the A/C/E from 14th to West 4th and then the F from West 4th to 2nd Avenue, which is hardly the same route.

  • Ian Turner

    The M8 is indeed a useful route, but my impression from living in this area is that most people who would use it can afford to just take a cab instead. indeed I found myself in exactly this situation on Saturday night, when I chose a taxi over a 20-30 minute waiting time.

  • It’s odd that Caleb Crain says, “Diatribes, of course, need not be fact-based, whether they be anti-car or anti-horse,” before pointing out the lack of sourcing for one of Vanderbilt’s eagerly complicit, cars-ain’t-so-bad vignettes, and after referencing a historical theory that bicycles paved the way for automobile domination (so?). These days fatality numbers are reliably collected (if lacking in unbiased details) and any anti-car ‘diatribe’ resting on them is well founded in fact. Most of what qualifies as fact-free transportation diatribe, rather, is directed at the bicycle.

  • Ian? Ouch! “Most people can afford a cab”? That’s a broad generalization, I know you’d admit. While it might be easy to say that about the leafy West Village streets, the M8 is the only crosstown route through the transit-starved East Village, a neighborhood not usually associated with the tea-and-crumpets set.

    And don’t we want to provide everyone with fewer reasons to take auto-based transportation, even if that person can “afford” it?

  • While I’d love to run into (figuratively) Sarah Michelle Geller on a bike lane (if you’re reading, Sarah, how about Grand St. tomorrow at noon?), something tells me that those photos are just a modeling shoot. I mean, the basket suddenly appears, loaded with an oh-so-perfect arrangements of vegetables and bread? And the photography screen in the background?

    But I’d give props to her if she could pull off pedaling in those heels. Sometimes I see women riding in the city in dresses and heels (more frequently on Vélib bikes in Paris, not so much here) and it all seems so civilized….

  • Automobiles were considered so unsafe when they first appeared that there were automobile riots attacking cars driving through neighborhoods. Here is a quotation about one from John Dos Passos. Apparently, they were fairly common, since he asks the person who hasn’t heard about automobile riots: “Ain’t you read the paper?”

    http://preservenet.blogspot.com/2006/04/automobile-riots.html
    At the next corner, a crowd was collecting round a highslung white automobile. Clouds of steam poured out of its rear end. A policeman was holding up a small boy by the armpits. From the car a redfaced man with white walrus whiskers was talking angrily.

    “I tell you officer he threw a stone. . . . This sort of thing has got to stop. For an officer to countenance hoodlums and rowdies. . . .”

    A woman with her hair done up in a tight bunch on top of her head was screaming, shaking her fist at the man in the car, “Officer he near run me down he did, he near run me down.”

    Bud edged up next to a young man in a butcher’s apron who had a baseball cap on backwards.

    “Wassa matter?”

    “Hell I dunno. . . . One o them automoebile riots I guess. Aint you read the paper? I dont blame em do you? What right have those golblamed automoebiles got racin round the city knockin down wimen and children?”

    “Gosh do they do that?”

    “Sure they do.”

    –John Dos Passos, Manhattan Transfer

  • Ian Turner

    Ian,

    This is what I mean when I say the East Village is expensive:
    http://newyork.craigslist.org/search/abo?query=east%20village

    A friend of mine recently moved out of a rent-stabilized apartment on 9th st between 1st and A. Rent for the noisy 150-sqft studio cost $1750 a month.

    We certainly want to give people reasons to switch away from automobiles, but if you are going to make service cuts, it makes sense to do them in places where people have fewer options. That the M8 bus is not widely used is not in dispute, so if there are to be cuts it only seems reasonable to put this one on the chopping block.

  • Staten Island’s got nothing on Brooklyn. Recently, I’ve noticed an increasing number of drivers who can’t seem to be bothered to wait at red lights, just the thing for which cyclists are so often excoriated. Of course, the cyclist is on a 30-lb bike, not behind the wheel of a 5,000-lb SUV, but whatever.

  • J. Mork

    When I lived at 4th St. and Ave B, I found the M9 and M14 much more useful than the M8 for getting across town.